One third of quake foundation repairs in Christchurch don’t comply with building code

A survey of structural repairs carried out on 90 earthquake-damaged homes in Christchurch has found a third of the work does not comply with the building code.

The findings have just been released in Christchurch and are from a survey that looked very specifically at repairs that met three criteria: They had to be completed; they had to be exempt from needing a building consent; and they had to incorporate actual structural work.

It found that more than half of the homes had issues and that a third of them did not actually meet the building code.

Fletcher Building chief executive Graham Darlow (right)
Fletcher Building chief executive Graham Darlow (right) Source: 1 NEWS

Of those more serious cases nearly all (30 of the 32) relate to re-levelling work using a method called "jack and pack" where they jack a house off its foundations and put in packing to level it off.

The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment, which carried out the survey, says a wider survey of repairs that were exempt from building consents should now be carried out and that should target work involving the "jack and pack" system in particular..

The new footage shows the extent of the rebuild in the city’s CBD. Source: 1 NEWS

EQC says it already has this process underway and is looking at least 3,600 homes. Based on the MBIE survey it expects to find about 1200 homes that need to be fixed again. It says that work will be done at no expense to the homeowners.

Fletchers EQR which oversaw the repair process says the contractors will be expected to meet the cost of repairs and if they are out of business, Fletchers will meet the cost itself.

Fletcher Building Chief Exectuivec Graham Darlow says he will apologise to home owners who have faced delays in getting their floors and foundations repaired.

EQC is anticipating repairs will cost around $1,000 a house, putting the overall cost at somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million.

If 1200 homes need repairs that would be less than two per cent of the full EQC repair programme which has dealt with 69,000 homes since the quakes.

The results of a survey of structural repairs on 90 earthquake damaged homes have just been released. Source: 1 NEWS



Wild weather forces longest delay in 40 years for Kiwi scientists journeying to Antarctica

New Zealand scientists' trip to Antarctica has been delayed, with wild weather battering the icy continent.

With winds lashing snow and sleet into an icy storm, activity at the McMurdo Sound airfields have come to a screeching halt, leaving planes grounded on the Christchurch tarmac.

The weather has caused the longest delay in 40 years, setting scientists back a further two weeks.

However, a slight break in the weather has left the Kiwi team scrambling to depart as soon as possible.

Officials are hopeful that two flights, holding around 20 logistics staff will depart tomorrow, optimistic a further five can take off by Friday.

Weather permitting, scientists will take off in two weeks, where they can finally get to work.

The start of the science season is already two weeks behind schedule. Source: 1 NEWS


'State care can have disastrous implications' - Chief District Court Judge

Placing children and young people in state care can have disastrous consequences and greatly increase their risk of becoming chronic offenders, says the Chief District Court Judge.

Judge Jan-Marie Doogue made her comments to lawyers at the Law Foundation's Ethel Benjamin Commemorative Address in Dunedin today, while highlighting the risks of placing children and young people in state care.

She said if a family court judge considered a child or young person was in need of care and protection, the child or young person could be placed in appropriate care, most commonly in the care of the chief executive of Oranga Tamariki.

Read the full text of Judge Jan-Marie Doogue's speech here

As of June this year, a record 6300 children were in state care.

"The figures tell us that our most vulnerable children and young people are being put into state care faster than ever before," she said.

Yet despite needing a sense of stability and normalcy, many do not receive it. Between 2013 and 2017, 40 percent of children in state care had at least three caregivers.

This is in spite of research suggesting that a secure placement, coupled with a continuous and quality relationship with a foster parent, can avert the onset of criminal behaviour.

And the prognosis isn't good. Those with a history in state care are more likely to be chronic and persistent offenders as adults.

They are 15 times more likely than their peers to have a record with the Department of Corrections. Seventeen percent of all prisoners, and 13 percent of all people serving a community-based sentence, had a care and protection event by the time they were 17-years-old.

It is even worse for young offenders in prison. More than four out of five prisoners under the age of 20 have been in state care. Māori make up two-thirds of children and young people in state care.

"What is clear to Family Court Judges is that state care can have disastrous implications on a child or young person's development and can greatly increase the risk of future offending," Judge Jan-Marie Doogue said.

She suggested one approach which is used in numerous overseas jurisdictions and involves giving district court judges the same range of tools available to the youth court when dealing with young adults.

Youth Justice Facilities

Chief Judge Doogue also touched on the problems many young people face when they are referred to youth justice facilities.

"A staggering two-thirds of young people in youth justice residences meet the criteria for substance abuse disorder. Even more are reported to be heavy drinkers. These figures are worse for Māori who, on average, start using alcohol and drugs from an earlier age."

Then there are mental health issues.

"Between 50-75 percent of youth involved in the justice system meet diagnostic criteria for at least one mental health disorder. Those in youth justice residences are 10 times more likely to have a mental health disorder than youth generally. As a recent study concluded - rather chillingly - in New Zealand youth justice residences, 'some form of psychological need was the rule rather than the exception'," she said.

Legislative Reform

From July, the Oranga Tamariki Act will include the tikanga Māori concepts of mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. It will establish as principles the need to consider these concepts at the heart of any decision made in respect of a child or young person, as well as the need to take a holistic approach in any decision-making.

In light of this, Judge Doogue said it was crucial that judges were culturally competent. She said they would need to understand the key tikanga Māori concepts, as well as having ongoing education on tikanga and Te Reo Māori.

"Our judges will need to be able to both understand the disadvantage that those children and young persons who come into the Court have faced, as well as recognise how their whānau, hapū and iwi can be part of the solution," she said.

Chief Judge Doogue said the Family Court will need to make greater use of cultural reports and lay advocates, which provide judges with pertinent information and help find a suitable solution.

She said it was also important whānau and social worker engagement at Family Court Conferences and Mediation Conferences will also help to craft a plan in the best interests of the child or young person.

Chief Judge Doogue said these changes would require Family Court judges to change the way things are done, including a way care and protection matters are considered.

"Currently, some reviews are done in Chambers, on the papers. It is rare for Judges to have family and whanau in the courtroom. This is because the final decision comes after the mandatory Family Group Conference where all parties are present. However, if we stay true to the Act's expanded principles, it may be that care and protection reviews simply need to be done kanohi ki te kanohi - face to face."

That would give whānau, hapū and iwi a greater opportunity to be heard, which carried immense cultural and moral value, she said.

Jan-Marie Doogue told the audience more money needed to be spent on the Family Court's care and protection matters, which account for 15 percent of the court's work.

By Catherine Hutton

State care
Source: Supplied



NZTA failure to properly check companies that certify vehicles sparks urgent review

The public has been put in harm's way because the New Zealand Transport Agency has failed to properly monitor safety checks.  

An urgent investigation is underway into 150 cases. But it's not clear how many dangerous vehicles could be on the road, among them, heavy vehicles.

Heavy vehicles around the country have safety checks, but the NZTA hasn't properly policed those that do the checking. 

And it's now likely there are unsafe vehicles on the road as a result. 

"I have expressed my extreme disappointment that the agency has not carried out its regulatory role to the standards that I expect," Transport Minister Phil Twyford said.

NZTA chairman Michael Stiassny said the agency, "cannot say that anyone is proud of where the agency has been or where the safety is". 

In some cases the agency let certifying companies police themselves, in others it simply ignored files.  

Now 850 compliance files are being reviewed by a law firm, and 152 of those will be urgently reviewed because there's a threat to public safety.

"Sadly this has been going on for a considerable period of time," Mr Stiassny said. 

Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said the forum has "been very critical of NZTA and not functioning as a regulator in the vehicle compliance, but particularly the heavy vehicle fleet". 

NZTA says at this stage there's no evidence to suggest incompetence has resulted in accidents that have caused serious injury.  But it will have more of an idea in November when the results of the 152 urgent cases are reported back. 

The Transport Minister is blaming under-resourcing by the previous government.  

"The loss of personnel in 2014 for heavy vehicle certification inspections I think is an example of that," Mr Twyford said.

National's Transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said, "Actually what this is about is him talking about underfunding in order to justify his road taxes that he keeps on piling on". 

The law firm carrying out the investigation will continue keeping a close eye on the Transport Agency, with a lawyer now based at its headquarters.

An investigation is underway but it’s not clear how many dangerous vehicles could be on the road. Source: 1 NEWS

Man dies after vehicle hits power pole, closing SH2 at Matata in Bay of Plenty

A man has died following after a vehicle hit a power pole at Matata in the Bay of Plenty late this afternoon, closing State Highway Two in the area.

The crash was reported to emergency services at 4.24pm and police say it involved a vehicle hitting powerlines.

Matata Road, part of SH2, remains closed between Manawahe Road and Flax Road. 

Diversions are in place and motorists are being asked to avoid the area.

Police say the Serious Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances of the crash.

Police car Source: 1 NEWS